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Safari Gaiters

On my first safari to Africa, one of the first things I noticed was my PH, Rowan Lewis, wore a pair of small green gaiters over his boot tops. On subsequent safaris to Africa, and even one to Australia, gaiters seem to be a constant feature of the professional hunters safari attire. Having never seen an American guide using anything similar, except knee length snow versions, I inquired about their use. Of course I realized the over-boot design would keep your laces tucked in, preventing them from getting snagged on brush and becoming untied, but I really wasn’t expecting the final answer I got.

"To keep grass seeds out of your socks", said Rowan.

"Huh?", I muttered intelligently, "Y’all must have some hellacious grass seeds here in Zim".

On further inquiry, I found out that the indigenous grass seeds of sub-Saharan Africa are indeed of the ‘hellacious’ variety. Hard and pointed, and enabled with a talent for working their way through the thickest socks to get to just the proper spot on your feet and ankles to inflict the maximum amount of irritation. Even to the point of breaking the skin and causing infections if not dealt with quickly enough. Infections of any sort in Africa aren’t something anyone takes lightly, especially a still wet-behind-the-ears American safari client. I quickly became the proud owner of a set of genuine, hand-made, Zim tent canvas gaiters, and survived that first trek into the heart of Darkest Africa (Eiffel Flats!) with nary a debilitating ankle infection.

Leaping forward to the modern era, Texas Hunt Company has now solved this life threatening menace to proper safari order and offers a genuine 100% made in the U.S.A., guaranteed for life, version of those hallowed protectors of ankles and feet. Oddly enough, they call them……..Safari Gaiters. Here is what they have to say about them.

First off, they are available in new sizes. This is a revelation for me since I thought one size would fit all, but looking at their website I found you can get them in four versions, ranging from 8 inches all the way to 13 inches in circumference. To determine appropriate size, measure 7 inches from heel towards ankle with a fabric tape measure, then measure the circumference of the leg. Small fits 8-9.5 inches, Medium fits 9.5-10.5 inches, Large fits 10.5-11.5 inches and Extra Large 11.5-13 inches. Brits and other metrically inclined folks will have to come up with their own mathematical size conversions, as that is beyond the scope of this dissertation.

Not only will proper gaiters protect you from the dreaded Zim grass seeds, but they will also foil other sharp objects such as stones, stickers, and thorns from entering your boots and causing discomfort and possible injury. Made from a combination of breathable 500 Denier Cordura and a wide elasticized cuff, you get a fabric which does not absorb moisture, so it sheds water rapidly and dries out quickly, and assures all-day-long comfort. Another feature of this highly textured yarn is that it creates a soft and flexible fabric that is extremely strong, yet surprisingly quiet. It is good to have clothing made of quiet fabrics, since a thorn ripping across some noisy piece of gear can send your quarry thundering away from you in a cloud of dust…or even worse, thundering towards you in murderous fury.

Although quiet, the Safari Gaiters are durable using military proven, high-tenacity, nylon fabric and thread, creating the strongest possible combination and thus guaranteeing a long service life. Gaiters are a good piece of kit for every professional hunter’s wardrobe for more good reasons than keeping their boot laces tied, and PH’s have known for years what a necessity gaiters are in the African bush. Now Texas Hunt Company has taken this time proven concept to a higher level than recycled tent canvas with their Safari Gaiters. Available from their website (http://www.texashuntco.com) and select network of dealers for only $29.95

 


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